(Photo Courtesy of Crosswalk to Life)

After Ana L. Uribe got married, the couple’s path took them all over the place — from Houston, Texas, to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Germany and then to Alabama.

But in 2020, the couple couldn’t shake the feeling that God wanted them to retrace their steps.

“We felt God keep moving our hearts to move back to Las Cruces, but there were no jobs for my husband,” Uribe said. “So we said, ‘If God wants us to go back, He will open doors.’ And He sure did.”

Uribe’s husband was offered a good job at the place he used to work, and they rejoined the church they had been a part of there — Iglesia Bautista Buenas Nuevas (Good News Baptist Church). But not long after they moved back, a tragedy happened — the pastor and his wife both died of COVID-19.

Uribe said her husband knew instantly that the call to pastoral ministry that he had been running from for a while had finally caught up to him.

“That was the feeling God had placed in our hearts to come back to Las Cruces,” she said.

He became the church’s pastor, and Uribe led the women’s ministry.

She revived Mujer Virtuosa (Virtuous Woman), a ministry that she had started when they lived there 12 years before, hosting a monthly breakfast and inviting women from all walks of life to hear the gospel, find community and talk through any life issues they might be facing.

Uribe’s heart was in this kind of ministry. And it wasn’t long before an opportunity came along to do more of it — as administrative assistant for Cross Walk to Life, a Christian Women’s Job Corps site that offers women the opportunity to reach their full potential and improve their situation through job and life skills training.

“I got hired and started working there part time,” Uribe said, noting that she appreciated that one purpose of the ministry was to serve the large Hispanic community there.

Her fluency in both languages made her a perfect fit, along with her technology skills and heart for the ministry, said Carol Gilliland, director of Cross Walk to Life.

“We need someone who is good with technology and has good office skills so she can take care of the necessary things to make the ministry run smoothly,” Gilliland said. “She’s a whiz-bang at it.”

In the time Uribe has been there, she’s helped draw more women to Cross Walk to Life by networking in Spanish on Facebook. She’s also taught classes in English and Spanish in addition to organizing the ministry’s schedule and newsletters and taking care of other logistics. Starting in September, she will teach a new class on money management that the women have been asking for.

“She’s a blessing from God,” Gilliland said. “She’s very gifted, and she’s helped us reach people. She’s the glue that holds us together.”

The funding for Uribe’s role comes from a site grant from the WMU Foundation’s CWJC/CMJC Endowment, something Gilliland says she’s grateful for.

“I love what God has done at Cross Walk to Life through her help,” Gilliland said.

Uribe said she’s thankful for the way God has moved everything around to get her and her husband — along with their two sons, who are now teenagers — in the right place and provide what they needed to get there.

“It’s been a great experience,” she said.

Many of the women now go to her church also, and one of Cross Walk to Life’s participants who had no previous experience with computers became the church secretary after graduating from the program. Uribe is grateful to see those kinds of stories.

“It’s been a blessing all around to be a part of this community and the women that we’re serving,” she said.

by Grace Thornton, writer for The Baptist Paper